Best Best & Krieger LLP

CDC Greatly Expands Close Contact Definition for Determining Exposure to COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention greatly expanded its definition of “close contact” for determining a COVID-19 exposure.

According to the CDC Public Health Guidance issued Wednesday, a close contact is now defined as: “Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.”

Previously, the definition required that the contact be 15 minutes at one time, rather than through potentially quick contacts over an entire 24-hour period.

This move by the CDC is likely to result in changes at the state and local levels. It may also require employers to notify a broader range of individuals of potential exposure and may result in employers excluding many more employees from work for exposure to someone with COVID-19.

Best Best & Krieger LLP will continue to closely monitor these developments.

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